2018 Packer Free Agents

Amidst all the turmoil surrounding the general manager position in Green Bay as well as several coaching positions, there remains the question of players with expiring contracts. For most of Ted Thompson’s tenure the Packers were certain to sign their own players and refuse to sign players from other teams. Things changed a bit in recent years, as the Packers have brought in free agents now and then while letting some of their own leave.

Now that the team has locked up center Corey Linsley and wideout Davante Adams, they have around $26.2 million left to deal out to remaining free agents and draft picks. Assuming they save between $5 and $10 million for said picks, they’ll operate with $16.2 – $21.2 million in spending money this offseason.
There’s no telling exactly how the new GM will handle things, whenever he’s named, but here’s some ball park figures you can expect the upcoming Packers’ free agents to receive.

Packer safety Morgan Burnett
Morgan Burnett – Burnett will likely receive his third contract from the Packers this offseason. The former second-round pick has been one of the Packers’ starting safeties for the past seven seasons, and he presumably would be once again if he returns. However, at 28 years old he’s likely on the back nine of his career and he just turned in the second worst season of his career in turns of tackles per game played and passes defensed. He could see many of his snaps go to Josh Jones in the coming years.
Prediction: Re-signs, 3-4 years, $3.5-4.5 million per year

Ahmad Brooks – A veteran outside linebacker, Brooks may have been the best pass rusher on the Packers last season, outside of Clay Matthews and Nick Perry. However, he racked up just 19 tackles, including 1.5 sacks, in 12 games played. At 33 years old, any season could be his last. If he returns it would be a shock to see him receive anything more than a one year deal for the veteran minimum.
Prediction: Unsigned (could re-sign if needed in training camp)

Davon House – House returned to Green Bay in 2017 after two years in Jacksonville. His 2015 season with the Jaguars was likely the best of his career (60 tackles, 23 passes defensed, 4 interceptions), but 2017 was by far the best of his 5 seasons as a Packer (44 tackles, 6 passes defensed, 1 interception). He battled injuries throughout the year and starte all 12 of the games in which he played. While he may not be a Pro-Bowl caliber player, he’s a capable player in what has proven to be a thin secondary Green Bay. He’s a valuable veteran presence.
Prediction: Re-signs, 2 years, $2.5 million per year

Jahri Evans – After 11 seasons in New Orleans, Evans signed with to Packers to take the place of the departing TJ Lang. While the offensive line was battered all year, Evans was one of the most consistent players, starting in 14 games this season. Barring the Packers select a new starting guard in the draft or sign another in free agency, they could use Evans in what would be his 13th NFL campaign.
Prediction: Re-signs, 1 year, $2.5 million

Brett Goode – Goode has been the long snapper in Green Bay since 2008, but he’s struggled to stay healthy in recent years. The team has tried to find replacements for him the past two years before breaking down and re-signing the veteran right before the season began. It seems unlikely that would change or that the team would reward him with an extension after an injury shortened season.
Prediction: Unsigned

Quinton Dial – Dial saw his play time dip significantly in his fifth NFL season (also his first with the Packers). He was a quality backup along the defensive line but it wouldn’t be surprising if he sought to play in a larger role elsewhere.
Prediction: Signs elsewhere

Packer tight end Richard Rodgers hauls in a hail mary from Aaron Rodgers
Richard Rodgers – Rodgers will be forever remembered in Green Bay after he hauled in a 61-yard hail mary from Aaron Rodgers back in 2015. During that 2015 season he put up season totals of 510 yards and 8 touchdowns. Since then, he’s been buried on the depth chart behind Martellus Bennett, Lance Kendricks, and Jared Cook. Despite his minimal production for much of his career, Rodgers has been a capable backup and blocker while demonstrating he has arguably the best hands on the team.
Prediction: Re-signs, 3-4 years, $2.5-$3.5 million per year

Jeff Janis – Despite blazing speed, Janis has proven to be a totally inept route runner in the NFL. For whatever reason he can’t get on the same page as his quarterbacks to be a threat on offense. He has just 17 receptions for 200 yards and a touchdown through four seasons. All that being said, he’d be an all-pro if there was a spot for gunners on punt and kick coverage. He’s held a roster spot on the basis of his special teams prowess, but it’s unclear if he’ll get his hands on a second contract.
Prediction: Re-signs, 2 years, $1 million per year

The predictions above take $12-$14 million of the team’s available salary cap, leaving them able to sign outside free agents or front load contracts if they so choose. After a 7-9 season, re-signing players may not be enough, and the space available to the team would allow them to make a few extra moves as they reload and rebuild for next season.

Along with the players above, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Clay Matthews could be seen as free agents given their cap hits by comparison to their production. With both Nelson and Cobb in line to make around $12.5 million in 2018 and having cap hits of around $3 million if cut, the team could save almost $9 million per player if they cut them. Matthews on the other hand, has no cap hit if cut, and the team would merely free up all of his roughtly $11.5 million contract if they released him. Don’t be surprised if the new GM decides to restructure or cut any of the three.
Prediction: Nelson restructures or gets cut. Cobb’s contract remains unchanged. Matthews restructures for less money per year but on an extension.


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